The English language is a wonderful thing in its capacity to represent so things as varied as personal emotion and parking regulations; the flexibility in the way it’s used is awesome to adopt a young person’s turn of phrase. Or perhaps it’s just wicked. In fact it is both and neither. Depending on the speaker and the context. Are you following me or do you need further explanation? For example my use of the word spinster, my mother hates it as it has nasty connotations for her but of course I use it ironically with my tongue firmly in my cheek. I saw in my cheek metaphorically as if I literally had my tongue in my cheek the sound emitted would be inaudible.
When I met the journalist earlier this week I did thrown the word spinster into an answer or two largely to introduce some clear blue water between me and Jack Osbourne. The result is in his favour of course, which retrospectively, one concludes was entirely my intention! So when the Assistant Editor (otherwise known as my ‘friend’ (a term I will be revisiting via a foray in the Oxford Dictionary)) emailed me to say great interview and added that she had written the following headline to accompany the piece ‘I am still me. I am still a spinster, still a maverick… just with a disabled parking space at the house’! My face is still aching from the smile cum grimace I have been sporting since I read the email four hours ago!
Apparently the headline perfectly sums me up. So which bit of this sentence has rankled, got under my skin or irritated me so much? In fact I’m more bemused bordering on the stunned. Handily located between mauve and mavis the definition of maverick can be found thus:
1.(in the US) an unbranded animal, esp. a stray calf. 2. (a) a person of independent or unorthodox views. (b)(as modifier): a maverick politician (Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus). Now I’m wishing I hadn’t looked it up – is she saying I’m an unbranded young cow? This brings to find something a family acquaintance used to say about his mother-in-law ‘ if she was in India she’d be sacred’! Those were pre politically correct times where the appropriate response was a muted smile followed by ‘oh you are awful’ from his (long suffering) wife who had obviously heard it a million times before!
Of course my friend means none of those things and genuinely meant it affectionately I have no doubt so I should just shut up shouldn’t I? No it’s the use of the term spinster by someone else that is a little weird. I am single by choice however that’s not the point. The recently edition of the MS Matters (MS Society Magazine) had ‘Does your MS get in the way of intimacy?’ on the cover, no I thought it’s not the MS it’s my frankly spectacular skill at homing in on f**k wits! As someone once said to me ‘you can’t blame everything on your MS’!